Time to insulate Britain says PM
20th Jun 2022
Well that’s what The Times reported last week, and I agree with the sentiment. If only there was someone holding the levers of power who could actually translate those fine words into read deeds. Someone like a Prime Minister.
It seems Whitehall is looking at ways to reallocate cash towards insulation schemes for the least well off ahead of what is going to be a difficult winter for many. Now some argue, with good cause, that investing new money into insulation would deliver real financial gain for households. I agree, but it seems there is a limit on plans for government spending so they are looking at what cash might be available to reallocate instead.
Now aside from the sixth form debating points about nuclear weapons, or even nuclear power, or those who wish to cut international aid budget even further, what scope is there for reallocation?
The article referred to the recently launched Boiler Upgrade Scheme, £450 million to subsidise the scrapping of boilers in favour of heat pumps, but were deterred when officials advised it was too late, as the scheme had been announced. That advice was, how can I put it, not strictly true. It is never too late to stop inefficient use of scarce resources.
The scheme itself is designed to help reduce the cost of heat pump installations by providing a subsidy for 50,000 installs a year, over three years, to a tune of £5000 a time. The question the PM should be asking Whitehall officials, is whether this is the best use of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash?
If the average heat pump installation costs £10,000, then the subsidy will pay for half. The other £5 grand is paid by the householder, suggesting they aren’t struggling to pay their energy bills. The annual 30,000 target is roughly half the volume of heat pumps fitted in 2021, so unlikely to be a great stimulus for demand, but it is likely to reward those who had already made the decision to switch.
Reallocating this money to insulation would be painful for some, let’s acknowledge that, but £5000 can insulate 10 mid-terrace lofts, delivering £230 a year household savings (according to the EST). The question I have for the PM is, does he really mean what he says?
Mike Foster, CEO